Chicken pesto pasta in a skillet and garnished with shredded parmesan cheese.

Chicken Pesto Pasta With Tomatoes & Mozzarella Pearls

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This Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe features perfectly cooked al dente penne tossed in a vibrant basil pesto sauce, topped with tangy cherry tomatoes, and cheesy mozzarella pearls. It is ready in 30-minutes, making it the perfect easy dinner for busy nights!

Chicken pesto pasta in a skillet and garnished with shredded parmesan cheese.

Pasta is a staple food in the Western world. It’s affordable, easy to prepare, and can be eaten with many different sauces or toppings. While traditional tomato sauce may be King in the pasta-o-sphere there’s just something about the freshness of a good pesto that you can’t beat. 

This Chicken Penne Basil Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella Pearls is a 30-minute meal that tastes amazing. It’s so easy to make, too! With just 5-10 minutes of prep, you’ll have this pasta dish simmering away on the stove ready for you and your family to enjoy in the blink of the eye. You’ll want to make sure you have enough for seconds and even leftovers!

What Is Basil Pesto?

Basil pesto is a sauce made with basil, garlic, pine nuts or walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil all blended together to make a herbaceous pasta sauce kids and adults both enjoy. It is most commonly used in pasta dishes but can also be eaten as a spread for sandwiches or wraps or mixed into soups to give it some extra flavor. For the sake of time, this recipe uses store-bought jar pesto, but if you want to you can make fresh pesto instead.

Equipment You’ll Need To Make Chicken Penne Pasta

For this recipe, you’ll need a large pot to boil your penne pasta and a large skillet. You’ll want to use a skillet that is big enough to toss your penne in with the chicken and tomatoes once cooked. A high-edge skillet like this one works great!

How To Make Chicken Pesto Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Cook according to package instructions.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the diced chicken breasts and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook until they are cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the chicken and tomatoes. Remove from heat and add in the pesto sauce and toss to coat pasta evenly.
  6. Add mozzarella pearls and stir in. Then top with grated Parmesan.
  7. Serve while hot and enjoy!

What To Serve With You Pesto Penne Pasta

While you don’t have to serve anything with this dish, a simple green salad accompanied with garlic knots is always nice. If you don’t feel like making a salad you can always go for something simple like steamed broccoli or green beans in a garlic butter sauce. 

If you have a sweet tooth my dirt cake Crumble cookie and soft snickerdoodle cookies are quick and easy!

Chicken pesto pasta on a white plate to show off the basil pesto sauce.

How To Store Leftover Chicken Pesto Pasta With Tomatoes

If you took my advice and made enough for leftovers, you’ll want to store them in a sealed container in the fridge. The pasta will stay good for about three to four days.

How To Reheat Your Basil Pesto Pasta

To reheat your chicken pesto pasta, you’ll need to add a tablespoon or two of water to a saucepan and place it on the stove over medium heat.  Keep a close eye on it to avoid drying out the pasta. You’ll want to stir the pasta frequently so you don’t burn the penne. Heat until just hot and then serve. 

While microwaving is not recommended you can if you choose to. You’ll want to reheat your pasta in 30-second intervals, stirring in-between until it is warm throughout

Chicken Penne Basil Pesto FAQs

Can You Freeze Pasta With Pesto Sauce On It?

If you took my advice to make leftovers and went a little crazy with it then you’ll be happy to know this recipe is freezer friendly! Unlike cream-based sauces, Pesto freezes really well! Just make sure to let your pasta come down to room temperature before placing it in your freezer bag to avoid excess moisture.

What If I Don’t Have Chicken? Can I Substitute It With A Different Meat?

Absolutely! Pesto pairs really well with white meat, turkey, pork, and even shrimp!  You can even leave the meat out altogether.

What Brand Of Jar Pesto Sauce Is Best Fo Making This Recipe?

You can use any brand of pesto sauce you’d like or even make some fresh. For this recipe, I use Barilla and prefer it to most other options available at the grocery store.

What Size Skillet Should I Use To Cook My Penne Pasta

For this recipe, you’ll want to make sure your skillet is large enough for all of the ingredients in one batch. I recommend at least a 13-inch skillet. A high-edge skillet like this one works great!

What Are Mozzarella Pearls? Where Do I Find Them?

Mozzarella Pearls are round balls made from fresh mozzarella cheese. Your local grocery store will have them in the specialty cheese section.

Close up of chicken pesto pasta with tomatoes being picked up with a fork.
Chicken pesto pasta in a skillet and garnished with shredded parmesan cheese.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

This Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe features perfectly cooked al dente penne tossed in a vibrant basil pesto sauce, topped with tangy cherry tomatoes, and cheesy mozzarella pearls. It is ready in 30-minutes, making it the perfect easy dinner for busy nights!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Chicken, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 531 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. penne rigate pasta (half a 1 pound box)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into bite-size chunks)
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • ¾ cup basil pesto sauce (6.5-ounce jar)
  • 1 cup mozzarella pearls
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (finely grated)

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Cook according to package instructions.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the diced chicken breasts and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook until they are cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add in the tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the chicken and tomatoes. Remove from heat and add in the pesto sauce and toss to coat pasta evenly.
  • Add mozzarella pearls and stir in. Then top with grated Parmesan.
  • Serve while hot and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcalCarbohydrates: 35.6gProtein: 38.6gFat: 25.1gSaturated Fat: 8.4gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 563mgPotassium: 650mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 6.4gCalcium: 312mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chicken Pesto Pasta
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